We’re two weeks into the 2012 college football season, and so far, there haven’t been any big shake-ups in the Heisman Trophy race. We’ve seen exciting things from some new faces, but it’s still a little too early in the year to have a solid idea of who the finalists will be. Each week, we’ll update the list with new stats and information as some players make their way into the Heisman conversation and others drop out.
Here’s the latest after the second week of the season, including an update on one player whose Heisman hopes might have been derailed by injury:
2012 Heisman Trophy Watch Week 3
Matt Barkley – QB, USC
There’s a blog for Syracuse, USC’s week two opponent, that’s cleverly named Troy Nunes is an Absolute Magician, after the former Orange quarterback, but when the Trojans faced Syracuse at MetLife Stadium last weekend, it was Barkley who worked a little magic of his own. The Trojans’ quarterback celebrated his 22nd birthday by throwing for six touchdowns, tying his own USC single-game record. And he managed to do it while throwing for just 187 yards. He was 23 of 30, but the Trojans’ offense started slow; half of Barkley’s touchdowns came in the fourth quarter. He’ll have a big chance to showcase his abilities this weekend against Stanford.
Collin Klein – QB, Kansas State
Kansas State had a great year in 2011, largely thanks to Klein, but neither the team nor the quarterback got the attention or respect they deserved. Klein is a big threat as a runner, but he’s proved he can pass, too. He completed 9 of his 11 pass attempts (81.8%) against Miami, for 210 yards and a touchdown, and he also had 71 rushing yards and three touchdowns on the ground, as the Wildcats beat the Hurricane, 52-13. K-State faces North Texas this weekend, followed by a date with Oklahoma that will get Klein into the national spotlight where he belongs.
Johnathan Franklin – RB, UCLA
The senior leads the FBS in rushing, with more than 200 yards in each of the Bruins’ games (214 @ Rice, 217 vs. Nebraska) and has been a huge part of UCLA’s strong start this season. If the Bruins continue to play well and get more attention, so will Franklin.
De’Anthony Thomas – WR/RB, Oregon
Ducks’ fans have started grumbling because Thomas, arguably the team’s most dynamic playmaker, has had limited touches in the team’s first two game. The ones he’s had, though, have come up big. Against Fresno State last week, Thomas had just 7 carries but logged 102 yards and two touchdowns. Running back Kenjon Barner is getting the most work so far and could be gunning for a Heisman invite of his own.
Denard Robinson – QB, Michigan
Robinson bounced back from the Wolverines’ bad loss to Alabama with the kind of performance for which he’s become known – carrying the team by rushing for a bajillion yards. Robinson had 218 yards and two touchdowns on the ground in Michigan’s 31-25 win over Air Force, including long runs of 58 and 79 yards. He also threw for 208 yards and two touchdowns, making him the first player from a major FBS program to have at least 200 yards rushing and 200 yards passing in three games. The high-profile loss in week one hurt, but if Robinson keeps playing like he did this week, it’ll be hard not to invite him to the Big Apple.
Le’Veon Bell – RB, Michigan State
Bell turned heads with 44 carries and more than 200 yards in week one. Against Central Michigan on Saturday, he took it easy, with just 18 carries for 70 yards, but added two touchdowns in the Spartans’ 41-7 win. Look for him to dial it back up a notch this week when Notre Dame comes to town.
Marcus Lattimore – RB, South Carolina
Like Bell, Lattimore didn’t have a big a day in the second game of the year, but his team didn’t need him to do too much. Lattimore had 13 carries for 40 yards and a touchdown as the Gamecocks beat East Carolina, 48-10. South Carolina hosts UAB this week, so they probably won’t need to lean on him again this Saturday, either.
Montee Ball – RB, Wisconsin
Ball was shut out this weekend when Oregon State upset the Badgers. He finished with 15 carries for 61 yards but didn’t reach the end zone, the first time in 21 games he hadn’t scored a touchdown.
Geno Smith – QB, West Virginia
The Mountaineers were off last weekend, but the smart money’s on another big game for Smith against James Madison this weekend.
Wilson suffered a head injury and left the game before the second half in the Razorbacks’ overtime loss to Louisiana-Monroe after reportedly experiencing concussion-like symptoms. Wilson was 11 of 20 for 196 yards and two touchdowns in the first half, but he hasn’t been cleared to play this weekend. Officially, he’s questionable for Saturday’s huge game against Alabama, it’s never a sure thing with head injuries. Wishing Wilson a speedy recovery.